Waterford super middleweight Rhys Moran decided to turn professional following the National U22 Championships at the start of the year and, in many ways, looks to be perfect for the paid game.
Young but with pedigree, power, and popularity, the 6’4″ Tramore puncher has been training under Paschal Collins alongside the likes of Niall Kennedy and Spike O’Sullivan for some time now.
Moran has not yet signed a pro deal and is in no hurry, wanting his first outing to be a major statement.
A move that some had predicted beforehand, Moran explained to Irish-Boxing.com how “I just thought my time was up in the amateurs. I felt, myself, in my own personal achievements, that I’ve done what I wanted to do in the amateurs.”
“I decided to turn over and I’m currently training in the Celtic Warriors Gym in Dublin. Paschal’s doing a bit of training with me.”
Just turned 21, Moran was a very solid amateur and described how “I’ve boxed six times for Ireland, I won a silver at the Odivelas Box Cup, I won the Celtic Box Cup three times, I’ve an Irish Colleges Youth title.”
“I won the Under-18 Championships back in 2016 and competed in the Europeans. I got to the last 16 where I was beaten by a Georgia, who was a very good fighter.”
“All through my amateur career I’ve been boxing the best lads, Michael Nevin, Kieran Molloy, Tommy Hyde, I’ve victories over some and losses to others.”
“I wanted to go [pro] at 15, 16! But I was always told I was too young, that I’d have to go abroad to do it, that I hadn’t gotten any international experience with Ireland yet.”
“So, I got two Irish titles, I boxed six times for the country, I boxed at Senior level, I won the Munster Elite title where I stopped a man eight years older than me in 40 seconds. I’ve got that expereicene now.”
The last time Irish-Boxing.com had been in contact with Moran was in the wake of his National Under-22 semi-final defeat to Sean Conroy – a fight the Déise man was convinced he won.
The move to the pros was not a snap decision but Moran admits that that loss “was a little bit of an edge towards the pro game.”
“It’s hard to train all year, fights are infrequent, and that happens. As an amateur, you train just as hard as a pro, twice a day, and at the end of it you don’t get paid and you don’t get the decision.”
“You’re at the drawing board and you’re thinking ‘what’s next?’ Do I want to come up here again and box knowing that it’s a 50-50 chance I get the decision even though I know I beat him?”
Moran doesn’t plan on leaving too much up to decision once he arrives to the pro ring and cuts an imposing figure.
The St Paul’s graduate looks set to be a danger in the super middleweight decision where he will stand taller than most.
Moran notes how “I was fighting light heavyweight [81kg] as an amateur but it’s my plan to move to super middleweight [76.2kg]. When I was an amateur I was weighing in at 78, 79 kilos, eating what I liked.”
“I was caught in between two weights, I just couldn’t make mddleweight [75kg] when you’re weighing in on a Friday, fighting, then weighing in again and fighting on the Saturday, it’s just too much on the body.
“I’m a tall southpaw, I stand at 6’4″, and I’m physically and naturally strong. I think the pro stle will suit me, I never really liked the amateur scene, the tip-tap and move style. I like to get involved, do a bit of damage.”
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Looking to break opponents down, there is no better place for Moran than the Celtic Warriors with coach Collins who was brought up on the tough Boston scene.
Moran outlined how “Paschal is a tremendous coach, he’s showing me things I’d never even thought of before, movements, angles, little tricks.”
“I feel the longer it goes through the rounds, the better I get. I start slow a little bit. My third round is always a lot better, even in sparring sessions.”
“I’ve seen that if you still look amateur-y when you come to the pros, you don’t hold sway. If you look professional, act professional, you can grab that bigger audience and that’s what I’m doing, working on that pro style, sitting down on the punches, adapting.”
“Once I have that completely right, I’ll make my pro debut, there’s no rush. But I’m really looking forward to it. I see titles, I’ve always had this dream, ever since I was a little fella, to turn professional.”